MSc in Computer Science


Program Description

The degree programs of computer science at Paderborn University are characterized by their distinct scientific orientation, certain key aspects, and the adequate design of forms of study. The degree programs of computer science are scientific studies, which are research and method-orientated. As the degree programs are not restricted to simply teaching current valid contents but rather support fundamental concepts and methods that withstand current trends, the research orientation enables graduates to successfully work in the profession of computer sciences both, in the field of economy or science, throughout their lives.

Master Degree Program

The Master's program is a consecutive continuation of the Bachelor's program. Based on their undergraduate experience the students acquire additional formal, algorithmic, and mathematical competencies as they

  • are enabled to describe and analyze problems with formal methods;
  • acquire up-to-date research results and detailed, deep knowledge from a self-chosen area within the so-called Focus Areas, which are Software Engineering, Algorithm Design, Networks and Communication, High-Performance and Embedded Computing Systems, and Intelligence and Data;
  • are enabled to develop solutions to incompletely defined problems;
  • can handle complex, incomplete, and even contradictory information; and
  • can structure and formalize problems and solution approaches.

During the master study program, the students acquire competencies on methods and project management, which enable them to

  • design and implement computing models, systems, and processes;
  • apply innovative methods;
  • develop the area of computing as a scientific discipline;
  • define goals and topics, infer task assignments, organize solutions, lead and represent teams; and
  • assess the non-technical effects of computing systems.

Based on this program, the Master students are in the end able to work in high-level professional positions, as well as continue their qualification with a Ph.D. dissertation.

Course of studies

The Master degree program is almost completely in English with only very few courses in German. This takes account of the fact that English has become the common working language in computer science research worldwide. Thus, the degree program is suitable for foreign students with a Bachelor´s degree but it also means, that the program contains a lot of lectures in English for German-speaking students.

All modules of the Master degree program are assigned to one or more focus areas. Currently, there are six such focus areas:

  • Software Engineering
  • Algorithm Design
  • Networks & Communication
  • Computer Systems
  • Intelligence & Data
  • Data Science

One of the focus areas is to be selected as the specialization area. All in all, eight compulsory elective modules (of 6 credit points each) in the focus areas have to be successfully completed. In doing so, three modules must be completed in the specialization area and modules of at least two different focus areas must be completed. Otherwise, there are no restrictions for the eight modules of the focus areas. These “weak” rules allow the students to choose rather freely from the modules. Highly specialized studies as well as a broad education are possible.

The project group (20 credit points), in which a group of 8 to 16 students works on a project for two semesters under the supervision of a lecturer, is of particular importance. Over a period of one year, the group works as a self-organized team on a project, which is typically connected to a current research topic. In this way, team-orientated working methods, which are common in professional life, are learned and practiced.

Furthermore, there are two seminar modules (5 credit points each) and the Master´s Thesis with 30 credits, which takes up a time frame of about one semester. In addition, there are lectures in a general studies module (interfaculty lectures) or an optional subsidiary subject (12 credit points). You can, e.g. take language courses as part of this module.

Degree Course Scheme

The plan below illustrates a possible arrangement of modules during the Master degree program. The green boxes correspond with the eight compulsory elective modules and the two seminars are successively placed in the 2nd and 3rd semester; parallel to these, the project group also takes place during these two semesters.


Paderborn University

The 12 credit points during the general studies module (Studium Generale) or the optional subsidiary subject also take place during this time frame.

Of course, the distribution of elective modules, seminars, and the general studies or subsidiary subject can look very different. It is also possible to study modules while working on the Master´s Thesis (in the example syllabus completely during the 4th semester).

The rules require that one focus areas has to be chosen as a specialization. At least three out the eight modules need to be studied in this area. The remaining five, can be chosen freely. However, at least one must be from a second focus area. The topic of the Master´s Thesis has to be chosen in the specialization area.

Optional Subsidiary Subject

Unlike in the Bachelor program, the optional subsidiary subject during the Master program is not obligatory. Like in the Bachelor program it is, however, possible to choose one of the offered subsidiary subjects:

  • Electrical Engineering
  • Mathematics
  • Media Studies
  • Philosophy
  • Business Information Technology
  • Economics

Also, an optional another subsidiary subject can be chosen on the application. The scope of the subsidiary studies is restricted to 12 credit points. If the lectures taken during subsidiary studies correspond to the plans for the Master studies, the subsidiary subject will be explicitly mentioned in the Master degree certificate.

General Studies (Interfaculty Lectures)

12 credit points are dedicated to the general studies (or the optional subsidiary subject). Most international students take the opportunity to visit German language courses in their interfaculty lectures to fulfill the requirements of the examination regulations of reaching level A2 of the German language. Alternatively, every lecture at the university can be visited as part of general studies. The active participation in the university choir, the university's theatre group, or the big band can also count towards general studie.

Generally, the general studies function as general education and should be seen as a chance to broaden one´s horizon. Nevertheless, the general studies will be graded, but only count to a small extent to the final grade. Generally, courses in Computer Science cannot be visited.

Admission Requirements

You should have a BSc in computer science or a related subject. Your final grade in this course needs to be 3.0 or better (according to the German grading system). When you submit your application, we will check whether your Bachelor meets this requirement. It is important that you have a solid background in the following areas: Your Bachelor should contain at least 20 credits in Software Engineering, at least 20 credits in Theoretical Computer Science, at least 15 credits in Technical Informatics and at least 15 credits in Basic Mathematics of Computer Science.

To study at a German university, a general higher education entrance qualification is required.

You will also need to provide a suitable English language qualification. This is required from all students unless you completed your Bachelor degree in Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, the UK, or the US. This can be demonstrated by a TOEFL score of at least 550 (paper-based) or 80 (internet-based) or an equivalent qualification (e.g. Cambridge first certificate). 

Career Options

With a Master's degree in computer science, you will have excellent career prospects. Computer scientists work in areas as diverse as embedded systems, medicine, or multimedia. Team-oriented work with partners from all over the world is a characteristic of today's computer science jobs. With our Master's program, you will acquire skills that are highly valued in the industry. Our program also provides a solid foundation for research work, later culminating in a Ph.D. degree. Paderborn offers numerous opportunities for jobs both in the IT sector and in the engineering industry in international companies.


We do not charge any tuition fees!

Costs include a mandatory social fee and living expenses. The social fee is approx. 320 Euro per term and includes the semester ticket, which gives you free access to local and regional public transport such as buses and trains. Living expenses include expenses for accommodation and subsistence and are approximately 730 Euro per month.

Last updated Nov 2020

About the School

Paderborn University is the University for the Information Society. Our strong foundation in computer science and its applications, as well as the importance of IT for a growing number of disciplines, ... Read More

Paderborn University is the University for the Information Society. Our strong foundation in computer science and its applications, as well as the importance of IT for a growing number of disciplines, are the pillars for this claim. But we want to achieve more: we want to contribute to the scientific and technical development of the information society, simultaneously critically reflecting these developments by taking into account the history, norms, and values of our society. Read less